Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Lies Within by Karen Ball



I've been waiting for this one! Isn't the cover superb? But "what lies within" is even better. Karen Ball never disappoints. Her stories are edgy, heart-tugging, spirit-moving, and well-crafted.

When I was so blessed to have her as my hands-on editor for the first two books I ever published, her insights took me to a whole new level of write-craft. I will be forever grateful. Her techniques feature large in the workshops I teach to other writers.

So now I can only recommend heartily that you grab yourself a copy of this new release by a seasoned author. Savor the read!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Nothing’s going to stop Kyla…

until the ground crumbles beneath her feet.
Kyla Justice has arrived. Her company, Justice Construction, is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful companies in the Pacific Northwest. And yet, something is missing. Not until she’s called on to build a center for inner-city kids does she realize what it is: her sense of purpose. Now nothing can stop her, not the low budget, not supply problems, not gang opposition, not her boyfriend’s suggestion that she sell her business and marry him–and most especially not that disagreeable Rafael Murphy.
Rafe Murphy understands battle. Wounded in action, this Force Recon Marine carries the scars–and the nightmares–to prove it. Though he can’t fight overseas any longer, he’s found his place as a warrior in the civilian world. So he soldiers on, trusting that one of these days, God will reveal to him why Rafe survived the ambush in Iraq. That day has arrived.
Kyla and Rafe both discover that determination alone won’t carry them through danger and challenges. When gang violence threatens their very foundations, there’s only one way to survive: rely on each other, be real–and surrender to God. In other words, risk everything…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Karen Ball , bestselling novelist, is also the editor behind several of today's bestselling Christian novels. Her love for words was passed down through her father and grandfather - both pastors who shared God's truth through sermons and storytelling. Blending humor, poignancy, and honesty, Karen's writing style is a powerful force for revealing God's truth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Don, and their "kids," Bodhan, a mischief-making Siberian husky, and Dakota, an Aussie-terrier mix who should have been named "Destructo."

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Restorer by Sharon Hinck


"In a fierce struggle for survival, don't mess with a mom." from the Nav Press web site

This is one awesome book for readers who enjoy fantasy and those who don't usually read it. Hinck has infused her Sword of Lyric series with universal appeal. Her wonderfully drawn characters remind us of people we know . . . or maybe of ourselves. The world of her imagination bears eerie parallels to our own, leaving us with lessons that impact our daily lives.

Book One of The Sword of Lyric series has garnered critical praise for its unique blend of fantasy genre and contemporary women's fiction voice, and went into a second printing only a few months after releasing. The story unfolds the adventure of a modern-day mom pulled through a portal into another world where a nation grappling for its soul waits for a promised Restorer.

To read a chapter of this exciting new title go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChapteraWeek/message/318.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Got Time to Meet a Christian Superhero?


Batman. Superman. Spiderman. The Incredible Hulk. The Fantastic Four. Ever wanted to read a book about Christian super-heroes for once? Well, Frank Creed has granted your wish in his sci-fi novel, Flashpoint.

Picture Michael J. Fox cast as a Neo-like figure (a la The Matrix) fighting for righteousness in a Christian-hunting fascist society, and you will have a rough idea of the main character in Flashpoint. And this dude is surrounded by others like him but with different gifts, including his cyber-whiz sister. Special effects techs would have a field day making this one into a movie.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book for its high tech action spiced with glimpses of the supernatural realm of the spirit that surrounds us and plays big in the outcome of our every day lives, much less in the lives of freedom-fighters in this potential world of the future. Little wonder Creed's book won an Elfie award for best sci-fi novel of 2006.

You can find out more about the author and the book at http://www.frankcreed.com/.
Buy It Now! http://www.thewriterscafe.com/authorandbooks/flashpoint.html

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith

Yippee! My friend Ginny's new Steeple Hill Romantic Suspense is out! This is a keeper. Loads of fun, and it's a quick read for the bus commuter or the busy mom or the day-worker wanting to unwind. Ginny did a lot of research for this novel, which shows in the details of the horse racing world she puts into the story. After she wrote the manuscript, news reports came out that established one of her key scenarios as more fact than fiction!

Read to the bottom of this post for book giveaway information.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

WHO KILLED HER BOSS?

Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing...even if she had opportunity.

When the director of the retirement farm for thoroughbred champions is murdered, Becky Dennison teams up with the handsome manager of a neighboring horse farm, Scott Lewis, to find her boss's killer. Soon the amateur detective are hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepen.

The amateur sleuths uncover a trail of clues that lead them into the intricate society of Kentucky's elite thoroughbred breeding industry. They soon find themselves surrounded by the mint julep set - jealous southern belles and intensely competitive horse breeders - in a high-stakes game of danger, money, and that famous southern pride.

And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks has the greatest stakes of all: life or death!
Romantic Times awarded Bluegrass Peril* * * * FOUR STARS! * * * *



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has contracted eight novels and numerous articles and short stories.

She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and her new release, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines.

An energetic speaker, Virginia loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”
I just happen to have a spare copy of Bluegrass Peril on my shelf. (No, I'm not giving away my own copy.) If you'd like your name in the hat for it, make a comment about this book or one of the others featured in this blog and BE SURE TO LEAVE CONTACT INFORMATION. I can't tell you that you've won if you don't tell me how to let you know.
In recent months, I've posted lots of good info on great reads for every taste! Don't let the knowledge go to waste!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Oh, yummy! A new one from Kristen Heitzmann! I've been waiting for the final installment in this fantastic series . . . and waiting . . . and waiting. Now it's here!

ECHOES is the conclusion to SECRETS and UNFORGOTTEN.
Even in the midst of her affectionate and chaotic Italian family, Sofie Michelli feels alone. For too long, she has been caught in a net of loss and despair. It is time to let go, to start again.

Rese is not sure what to make of Lance Michelli's healing gift, but she feels protective of this humbled version of the swaggering man who turned her life inside out. As they find new footing, the Sonoma villa she renovated becomes a refuge for the downtrodden—including Lance's sister Sofie.

Driven to protect the innocent, Child Protective Service worker Matt Hammond reserves judgment on the unconventional caregivers of the abandoned infant—who both concern and fascinate him—but he is especially drawn to Sofie, the mesmerizing woman with a dancer's poise, eyes like dark copper pennies—and scars on her wrists.

To read a chapter from this new title go to ChapterAWeek .

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Brave New Fantasy! Check Out Auralia's Colors

ABOUT THE BOOK:

As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.

As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.

When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lit more!

PRAISE
"Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment."--Publishers Weekly

“Through word, image, and color Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a work of art. From first to final page this original fantasy is sure to draw readers in. Auralia's Colors sparkles.”-–Janet Lee Carey, award-winning author of The Beast ofNoor and Dragon's Keep

“Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy, Auralia’s Colors, and its heroine’s cloak of wonders take their power from a vision of art that is auroral, looking to the return of beauty, and that intends to restore spirit and and mystery to the world. The book achieves its ends by the creation of a rich, complex universe and a series of dramatic, explosive events.”-–Marly Youmans, author of Ingledove and TheCurse of the Raven Mocker


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at LookingCloser.org and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.
His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.
Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.

Monday, November 26, 2007

For Parents Only - Book Giveaway!




"For every bewildered parent, there's a kid longing to be understood."

Shaunti Feldhahn is a name that's long been known for her relationship help books. Now this nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and public speaker has teamed up with Lisa A. Rice, associate editor of Christian Living magazine, to bring parents a vital communication manual. FOR PARENTS ONLY: Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid is a compact stick of dynamite that will blow down communication barriers between you and your kids.

And I've got two copies to GIVE AWAY! Read on to find out how you can qualify for the drawing.

Check out these great chapter teasers:

Taking a tour inside your kids head and heart.
Why even good kids go crazy for freedom and how to restore sanity.
Why your child suddenly treats you like an alien--and acts like one too.
The Good Thing About Being a Bad Guy: Why your child secretly hopes you'll stand your ground.
Don't these just wet your appetite for more? One of the niftiest things about this book is that it's short, sweet, and to the point. The authors present their well-researched material concisely, clearly and with compassionate passion for their topic. Keep reading to find out how you can win one just in time to head off unneeded extra holiday hassle with your kids.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Shaunti Feldhahn is the author of For Women Only and numerous other books, with sales totaling nearly one million copies. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and public speaker, Feldhahn earned her master’s degree at Harvard University. She and her husband, Jeff, have two young children. Lisa A. Rice is the associate editor of Christian Living magazine, the mother of two teenage girls, and a screenwriter and producer.

Buy it now! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1590529324

Win it now! Reply to this post with either a typical hassle between you and your kids (one you'd like help with) OR an example of a way that works for you in communicating with your kids. Simply responding with "count me in the drawing" won't cut it. Let's get some communication going!

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm Jazzed Today!

I just discovered that one of my books has finally been reviewed in the Library Journal!

The reviewer, Tamara Butler, said cool things about my upcoming January release, Reluctant Smuggler. Stuff like, “worthy third series entry,” and “This is a smart, fast-paced suspense title with enough relationship drama to please both fans of thriller and romance genres.” Hey, I’m smart! Well, she thought the book was smart anyway. She even mentioned that this is the third in a series, and the previous two are Reluctant Burglar and Reluctant Runaway. Whoo-hoo!

Maybe you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal?” To me, it’s a milestone. Librarians across the country pay attention to the Journal’s opinion when ordering books to stock. Library placement equals increased readership. Increased readership means more people potentially touched by the faith and hope I infuse into every novel. It also means increased sales, and increased sales leads to a happy publisher, which tends toward more book deals for a smiling author. . . Well, you get the picture.

My next big goal is to get the attention of the grand poobah of publishing industry opinion, Publisher’s Weekly. But I am still left with a burning question: When I’m reviewed in PW, does that mean I have at last “arrived” as an author?

How about for you, dear reader? What events in your life have made you feel validated in your endeavors?

To celebrate my personal milestone, I'm giving away several books from my own library. Not Smuggler. That one hasn't released yet, and not even moi, the author, has a finished copy.

However, if you'd like to get started on the To Catch a Thief series, I have a copy of Reluctant Burglar that I'd love to put someone's name on. Also, if you like chic lit, I'd be happy to bless someone with a copy of Splitting Harriet, a hilarious romp by fellow Waterbrook/Multnomah author, Tamara Leigh. And how about a set of suspense novels? I've got a copy of Ever Present Danger and one of Never Look Back, also by a fellow Waterbrook/Multnomah author, Kathy Herman.

What do you need to do to get your name in the hat? Just reply to this post with a moment of personal validation--very appropriate for this season as we count our blessings. Don't forget to include your contact information so I can let you know if your name is drawn!

Oh, and all three To Catch a Thief books can be ordered/pre-ordered from my books page on this site. http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/tcatbooks.shtml

Excellent blessings on Thanksgiving and always!

Jill

Friday, November 16, 2007

Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh


Chic lit lovers will have a blast with this one--or anyone who needs to be reminded that walking with the Lord is fun!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Once upon a time, I was a rebel . . . And I have the tattoos to prove it.
Did I mention I'm also a preacher's kid? That's right. And like the prodigal son after whom I model myself, I finally saw the error of my ways and returned to the fold. Today my life is all about "lead me not into temptation." When I'm not serving as Women's Ministry Director at my father's church, I'm working at Gloria's Morning Cafe. I even have worthy goals, like saving enough money to buy the cafe, keeping my Jelly Belly habit under control, and never again hurting the people I love. No more parties. No more unsavory activities. And no more motorcycles! You'd think I was finally on the right track.
But since my dad's replacement hired a hotshot church consultant to revive our "dying" church, things aren't working out as planned. And now this "consultant" says I'm in need of a little reviving myself. Just who does this Maddox McCray think he is? With his curly hair that could use a good clipping, tattoo that he makes no attempt to hide, and black leather pants--the man is downright dangerous. In fact, all that's missing is a motorcycle. Or so I thought . . . but if he thinks he's going to tkae me for a ride on that 1298cc machine, he can think again.
Harriet Bisset is a reformed woman, and she's going to stay that way. Even if it kills me!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tamara Leigh’s first novel, Warrior Bride, was published in 1994 and was followed by six more bestselling, award-winning historical romances for Bantam, HarperCollins, and Dorchester. Leigh’s inspirational chick lit debut, Stealing Adda, was published in 2006 to great critical acclaim. Leigh has also written for Romantic Times magazine and been a guest speaker for WaldenBooks’s corporate conference. Leigh lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and two sons and enjoys time with her family, volunteer work, faux painting, and reading.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Try Dying by James Scott Bell



I'm always excited when a new James Scott Bell book releases. Talk about tight writing and riveting plot, Bell does it for me. Check out his latest!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.

Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if he has to kill for the truth.

"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care about...a story worth telling."~Library Review~



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Novella Lovers Unite!

Craving some fun, fast holiday reads? These four awesome authors have crafted just the treat to satisfy your hunger. Check out Big Apple Christmas by Carrie Turansky, Gail Sattler, Lynette Sowell, and Reyes Acosta.

ABOUT THE BOOKS:

Moonlight and Mistletoe by Carrie Turansky -- Christmas plans are set askew when professional organizer Sarah Montgomery meets free-spirited poet Justin Latimer. As they work together on a project for her neighbor, romantic sparks fly - but will new revelations douse them?

Shopping for Love by Gail Sattler – Two tourists try to lose themselves in the holiday shopping crowds. But when Bryan Evans literally knocks Emily Jones off her feet, her heart's secrets are spun even more off balance.

Where the Love Light Gleams by Lynette Sowell -- Christmas in Rockefeller Center puts a widow's spruce tree on center stage. Professor Theophilus Stellakis volunteers to host Gwynn Michaud, and they both find new dreams in the glow of the holiday lights.

Gifts of the Magi by Vasthi Reyes Acosta -- The gift of the Magi comes full circle for two lonely Latinos when Cecilia Montes takes time out of her busy schedule to help an old friend with youth group activities. But can she trust her heart to Elias Perez?



THE AUTHORS TALK ABOUT THEIR BOOK:


Readers often say that memorable characters are what make a book enjoyable. Describe the hero and heroine in your novella.


Vasthi: Cecilia Montes is a grad student dependant on her own strength and wisdom. Elias Perez, the youth pastor, was a childhood friend of Cecilia.


Carrie: Sarah Montgomery is a professional organizer who likes to feel she has everything under control in her life. Justin Latimer is a free-spirited children’s poet who is spontaneous and fun loving.


Lynette: Gwynn Michaud is a nontraditional Grandma with a big heart for her family. She's not looking for love. Then her surroundings change, and her family must do without her for the holidays. Theophilus Stellakis loves his ordered life and teaching college chemistry. When Gwynn comes to stay with him and his daughter, she brings a delightful splash of color to his life.

Gail: Emily has made some big changes in her life, and she thinks New York City is the perfect place to get lost in the crowd and regroup. Bryan needs some vacation time.

How do these characters grow and change in your novella? Or what do they discover about themselves or others?


Vasthi: Cecilia discovers that her old childhood friend, Elias, is not the sickly boy she remembers. And as she begins to fall in love with him she learns to rely in God's wisdom and strength not her own.


Carrie: Sarah has put up a protective wall around her heart, and she must learn that faith is the remedy for her fear. Justin discovers how important honesty is in building a strong relationship.


Lynette: Gwynn realizes during her time in New York that she's let herself slide, and that her family can function without her for a while. Not that she loves them any less, of course. Theo realizes how he's pushed people away, but he needs people to enrich his life, and that God often uses people to show us how much He loves us.


Gail: They both discover companionship and friendship is best found in unexpected places, and helping a stranger, or being willing to be helped, can be the best way to find a new friend.

What other books have you written?


Vasthi: I've written a trilogy based on a contemporary adaptation of the story of Ruth with Latino characters, titled MANGOES AND APPLE PIE. It is not yet published.


Carrie: I have written two other novellas, “Wherever Love Takes Us” and “Tea for Two” which is a finalist for the ACFW Book of the Year Contest. I’ve also written ALONG CAME LOVE, for Love Inspired. I just finished SURRENDERED HEARTS and hope it will be published soon.


Lynette: I have novellas in three other anthologies, plus my first two cozy mystery novels release in 2008, A SUSPICION OF STRAWBERRIES and THE WILES OF WATERMELON.


Gail: Too many to list here. You'll have to go to my website at http://www.gailsattler.com/, then you can see everything, including the covers.


Tell us something fun about yourself that we might not know.


Vasthi: I love to ride roller coasters. If I'm lucky enough to get a seat in the front, I sit back and watch the sky as the car climbs up and up and up and then when its at the tip just about to take the plunge I throw my arms up and scream all the way down. Yes! It's exhilarating.


Carrie: I love Africa! Our family spent a year in Kenya as missionaries, and I left a big piece of my heart there. I love to see what God is doing there through missionary friends and Christian organizations like Charity is:, and Samaritan’s Purse.


Lynette: Like my heroine Gwynn, I have an art degree and I love to paint...but I haven't done it in years. I'm thinking of picking up my brushes again.


Gail: I belong to a local jazz band, and I'm just taking on a new project - an electric upright bass.


We hope you will stop by the special new web site we created for this book. You can read excerpts of each novella, learn more about the authors, see some of our favorite Christmas recipes and enjoy photos of New York City. http://www.abigapplechristmas.com/.


You can learn more about the authors at their websites:
Gail Sattler: http://www.gailsattler.com/
Lynette Sowell: http://www.lynettesowell.com/
Carrie Turansky: http://www.carrieturansky.com/







Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter


ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)

BUY IT NOW! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1595542574

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boo Humbug!

What a great title for a book! Leave a comment, and you'll be entered to win one of two copies I'm giving away.

If you like giving fun and offbeat Christmas gifts, this is a super choice for the readers on your list. Queen of quirky comedy, Rene Gutteridge returns with a new and hilarious holiday saga in her popular series from Skary, Indiana. Like the cover says: Christmas is scarier than you think!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Readers have come to love the eccentric characters from Skary, Indiana, in Rene Gutteridge’s popular Boo! series. Now, in Boo Humbug! they’re back – and they’re stirring up a large amount of holiday havoc.

It’s Christmastime in Skary, and the town is planning an original production of A Christmas Carol with a horror spin. As showtime approaches, things go very awry for director Lois Stepaphanopolis. She panics when she discovers that her marketing director loathes Christmas and that the audience has been promised not Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but the real Christmas story. Can the actors pull off the improv of all improvs and convince their community to embrace the true meaning of the Christmas season?

Boo Humbug! offers readers a delightful glimpse into small town, community life with heartwarming humor and winsome characters. And in the end, the true meaning of Christmas shines out bright and clear, in a decidedly un-Skary way.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rene Gutteridge is the author of 10 novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, The Occupational Hazards series and My Life as a Doormat, a Women of Faith selection for 2006. She has been published over 30 times as a playwright, and holds a degree in screenwriting, graduating magna cum laude from Oklahoma State University. Rene is married to Sean, a musician, and they have two young children. They make their home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.




Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Matt Bronleewe's Illuminated

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.


To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

IT'S BEEN 500 YEARS IN THE MAKING...PREPARE TO BE ILLUMINATED...

August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."-Aspiring Retail Magazine

BUY IT NOW! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1595542493

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Release by Kathy Herman!

Never Look Back is vintage Kathy Herman. This author has a knack for combining tense suspense with emotionally wrenching issues a la Karen Kingsbury. She's also skilled at handling a large cast of characters that become more and more like family with each page turned. This is the second book in the Phantom Hollow series, but it could be read alone. The first one is Ever Present Danger.

Buy the book now! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1590529227

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The day Ivy Griffith walks out of jail after serving her sentence for withholding evidence in the Joe Hadley murder case, she is ready to put her years of pain and drug abuse behind her. A new job at her parents’ Christian camp in Colorado promises stability in this new season, but she is unprepared for her brother’s indifference toward her and her son, Montana. When camp worker Rue Kessler takes an interest in Montana, Ivy hopes the attention will make up for the rejection her son is feeling—and she doesn’t mind the attention Rue directs her way either.

Then a rash of crimes turns deadly, and Ivy suspects that Rue isn’t all he appears to be. But how can she condemn another when she knows the pain of accusation? The mysteries increase as Ivy struggles to move beyond the secrets of her past. Along the way, she discovers that the hardest person to forgive might be herself.

This fast-paced suspense novel continues the Phantom Hollow series with a rich exploration of the risks and possibilities of starting over.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Award-winning author Kathy Herman has been on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and at Better Books Christian Center in Texas. She has conducted educational seminars at CBA conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served as a judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards, and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market. She is the author of twelve novels, including the bestsellers Tested by Fire and All Things Hidden. Kathy and her husband, Paul, live in Tyler, Texas. Visit Kathy at http://www.kathyherman.com/.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crimson Eve - Not to be Missed New Release by Brandilyn Collins

Wow! What an exciting book! I devoured this read from thrilling start to nailbiting finish. Crimson Eve is Brandilyn Collins in high form. Suspense-lovers should NOT pass this one by.

About the Book:

Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”– Library Journal, starred review

“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”–TitleTrakk.com

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses

About the Author:

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ”
She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.
Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.
She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.
Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.
Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.
Do you know someone who’s never read a Brandilyn Collins novel? Surely no such person exists. However, should you scrounge up such a friend—someone who enjoys suspense—here’s a special offer from Brandilyn. Be among the first 50 people between now and October 21, 2007 to e-mail her assistant at gayle.brandilyncollins@gmail.com with the person’s name, e-mail address and street address. (Due to exorbitant overseas mailing costs, United States residents only, please).
A signed copy of Crimson Eve will be sent to your friend—free—along with an e-mail from Brandilyn announcing the book is on its way, courtesy of you. (Don’t worry. Brandilyn won’t spam these email addresses. She just wants your friend to know who to thank.) No worries that this story is third in the Kanner Lake series. Each book stands alone. Brandilyn is convinced your friend will so love Crimson Eve, he/she will surely reciprocate with expensive chocolate.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Life Unscripted

This is Tricia Goyer, a fine author of historical and young adult fiction. She's also just released an excellent non-fiction book for teenagers called My Life Unscripted. Tricia bares her heart and her past as she writes powerfully for young people, inspiring them to approach life with planning and forethought--to script their world into its fullest potential.

The concept for the book and the way she writes portions in actual script is awesome. This is a great book for your teenagers or youth group.

Let's hear Tricia tell about the book in her own words:

"With real-life scripts, screewriting terms, and timely topics, My Life, Unscripted helps teen girls explore their own inner struggles and outward relationships. It's my hope they'll learn the importance of "scripting" their own responses BEFORE challenging life-situations arise. By contrasting real life with TV/movies, it's my hope that teen girls will understand they don't have to get caught up in the drama. They don't have to face situations as they arise, but rather they can think about, pray about, and consider hoe to face these situations before they hit the big screen of their lives.

Q: Is it true that much of YOUR story shows up in these pages?

A: Gulp. Yes, I'm afraid so. In fact, I shared parts of my story that I swore I'd never tell a soul. My teenage script (portrayed in the book as Trish Valley) wasn't one I'd suggest my daughter, nor my readers to copy.

Q: Why did you decide to share these stories?

A: First, because I want girls to understand the heartache of unwise decisions. I want them to be able to relate to me . . . relate than feeling preached at. Also, I wanted to share my stories because many young women have faced the same type of situations, or they know friends who have. And finally because they are great object lessons for the importance of following biblical truth.

Q: What does your daughter think about this book?

Although it was hard to talk about my past mistakes, I knew this wasn an ideal opportunity to share real-life truths with my daughter. Each person walking this earth has regrets. Our talks showed me that instead of hiding my past troubles (and hoping my kids didn't find out), sharing my mistakes could actually give my daughter a better understanding as to why values and wise decision-making skills are important.

For those moms out there . . . maybe your teen yearts were not as drama-filled as mine. Of, if they were, maybe you are fearful of sharing them with your teen. The truth is, teens learn best not with information and knowledge, but rather by hearing life examples and understanding how decisions can affect all parts of our lives. So, time to get brave, Mom. Open your heart and share what worked and what didn't. It just might help your daughter write a better script for herself.

Oh, yes, and consider buying your daughter, My Life, Unscripted. Hopefully, every teen girl can get some take-away to scripting a bright future!

Here's the link to purchase from Christianbook.com: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?event=AFF&P=1029877&item_no=310524

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

NOBODY by Creston Mapes



Mapes' new release grabs the reader by the gut and compels them to plunge through the pages to a surprising and yet fitting conclusion.


This was a very fun read from an author who loves to dish up the unusual plot and illuminate the seamy sides of life on this stricken planet with the gentle, yet powerful beam of hope.


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!


They said, “He’s a nobody.” They were dead wrong.


When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?


With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?


“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle


“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying


“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure

Buy it NOW! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1590526244


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children.


He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.

Friday, October 05, 2007

$65 Million "Ten Most Wanted" Painting Recovered

Last year, when Reluctant Burglar (book one in my To Catch a Thief series) released, Leonardo da Vinci's "Madonna with the Yarnwinder" was among the stolen art featured in my Stealth and Wealth contest. "Madonna" has been listed among the FBI's Ten Most Wanted missing pieces for the past four years, but now it can be removed from the roster.

Officers in Glasgow, Scottland, raided an address where the theives were meeting for apparent negotiations about a sale for the painting. Three Englishman and a Scott have been arrested. The lead investigator in the case credits cooperation between Scottish police, national crime agencies and the public with the successful recovery.

According to the Art Loss Register, the da Vinci is valued at $65 million dollars. So why did the thieves hang onto the painting since the August 2003 theft?

As is true of many art thefts, conducting a sale for high profile art on the black market is a gazillion times harder than the actual grab--something would-be art snatchers should think about before they pull a heist. In this case, the thieves posed as tourists and overpowered a tour guide to escape with the painting from Scotland's Drumlanrig Castle, but then they've had to sit on the multi-million dollar loot every since. How frustrating is that! For them, anyway. But good for the patient, methodical work of the law enforcement team.

On a sad note, the recovery comes a month after the death of the painting's owner, the Duke of Buccleuch. His son inherits the title, the castle, and one of the finest private art collections in Britain. Now "Madonna with the Yarnwinder" returns home to that collection.

Friday, September 14, 2007


DiAnn Mills' books set in the Sudan and based on a very real and horrid conflict are outstanding. You'll miss soul-stirringm reads if you pass by this book and the other one in this series, When the Lion Roars.


When the Nile Runs Red

by DiAnn Mills

Two men, one woman.War-torn, disease-ridden Sudan.One powerful God.Paul Farid, who once persecuted the southern Sudanese, now loves the weary people whose lives have been destroyed by war. Colonel Ben Alier has led his battle-hardened soldiers for two decades against the North, yet he pursues a relationship with his son even as his own demons pursue him. Dr. Larson Kerr Farid works long hours caring for the sick, but fatigue and worry about her husband, are taking their toll. And she's just learned something that will make everything more complicated.

These three friends face constant danger as tensions escalate between the north and south, and as Paul's family schemes to kill him and Larson. Will Paul and Larson bridge the gap that seems to grow between them? And will Ben find peace as more than a soldier?

DiAnn Mills introduces her many fans to the current struggle facing Sudan in this riveting account of war, ancient hatreds, love and God's power. Sudan's beauty and tragedy will pierce the soul of every reader.

To read a chapter of this intriguing new title go to ChapterAWeek or order it online at Amazon.com.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sushi for One




For a hilarious romance with a "kick of Wasabi," pick up Camy Tang's debut chic lit novel. This author's got the "write" stuff to make you laugh all the way to fresh insights on God, people, and yourself.

About the Book:

Lex Sakai’s family, big, nosy, and marriage-minded, is ruled by a crafty grandmother. When her cousin Mariko gets married, Lex will become the OLDEST SINGLE COUSIN in the clan, a loathed position by all single female family members.
Lex has not dated for years.

Grandma homes in on this fact and demands, bribes, and threatens Lex to bring a boyfriend (not just a date) to her cousin’s wedding.

Lex does not want to date ... not since that terrible incident a few years back ... but, Grandma doesn't give her that choice.

Lex's options are slim because she has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the PERFECT man (and the more she dates, the more she adds to the list).
The one man she keeps running into (and is completely attracted to) doesn’t seem to have a single quality on her list.

It’s only when the always-in-control Lex loses control and lets God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.

Buy the Book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310273986

About the Author:



Camy Tang is a member of CFBA and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.

Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!

To celebrate the launch of her debut novel, she's got a huge contest going on. Camy is giving away baskets of Christian novels and an iPod Nano! Only her newsletter YahooGroup subscribers are eligible to enter, so join today.

For more information about the contest, visit her website. Contest ends October 31, 2007!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

WHO?3 - Activate Your Inner Sleuth!

A crime has been committed—and it’s up to you to figure out WHOdunit! Play the game for a chance to win an autographed copy of Amy Wallace’s romantic suspense, RANSOMED DREAMS.

Here’s what you do: read the intro scene, followed by scenes written by six authors. Collect the KEYWORDS from each scene (note: keywords are not pointers toward the culprit, but rather toward the novel from which we got our setting). Once you have the keys and have figured out WHOdunit, send an email to review@christianreviewofbooks.com with the subject line WHO? Send us the name of the culprit and the six keywords. Don’t forget to come back next week for the WHO? Confession by the culprit!

Entries will be received between 12 noon EST, Thursday, August 23, through 3 p.m. EST, Monday, August 27.
*******
Louisa
By Roseanna M. White

(There is no keyword in this first scene)

Louisa still wasn’t sure how she had ended up in a stranger’s house, at an impromptu party with a bunch of people she’d never met before that day. Sure, she had been enjoying her conversation with Dr. Cramer when they met at the National Institutes of Health earlier that day, and the thought of tagging along with him to meet a friend had, at the time, seemed perfectly logical.
Now she surveyed this group with mixed thoughts. She was one of only three females; one of the other two, LaTisha, was a brightly plumed older woman decked out in a bright purple dress and red scarf. The other, Sierra was nearer Louisa in age and had on a t-shirt with the slogan “Save the animals. Endanger Idiots Instead.” A little off-putting, though the petite Asian girl was smiling and chatting amicably with one of the men.
“Hello, love.”
Louisa looked over with a start at the handsome young man who had materialized at her side, a glass of soda in each hand. He reminded her vaguely of some actor. Sandy brown hair. Nice face. Even the English accent fit. Jude Law, wasn’t it? She took the drink he offered with a small smile. “Thanks. I’m Louisa.” She held out a hand.
He raised it to his lips, which nearly made her roll her eyes. “Jeremy Beckett. I was chatting with our lovely exotic bird there,” he said with a nod toward LaTisha, “about volunteering at my school when Agent Kessler invited us home for a few snacks. Interesting group, isn’t it?”
“Mm.” She took a sip of her soda and looked absently at the massive man still talking to Sierra. He was huge, complete with heavy middle, moon cheeks and a ruddy complexion, but that wasn’t what grabbed her attention. He kept talking about his church and saying things like “the Lamb” and mentioning the power of the blood without ever making it sound—well—right. Maybe in a minute she’d go over and see if she could wrangle that poor Sierra girl free.
Or maybe she wouldn’t have to. Sierra backed away from him with wide eyes, looking like she was about to haul back and slap him. “You people sacrifice animals? You. . . you barbarians!” She spun away with a disgusted huff.
Their host, FBI Agent Steven Kessler, immediately offered the big man—ironically named Ham—an hors d’oeuvre to diffuse the situation.
“Good man,” Jeremy said beside her, nodding to Steven. “I had his son in class.”
“I didn’t realize he had a son.”
“An angel, more like. He’s six.”
Louisa felt her lips tug up into a smile. “Mine are eight. Twins.”
Jeremy nearly choked on his soda. “You have eight-year-olds? You don’t look a day over twenty-one.”
His judgment probably wouldn’t be much better had he known how old she really was, so Louisa just gave that vague smile she had perfected over the years and said, “Thanks. Hopefully people will still be saying that in another decade.”
Dr. Cramer slid up to her other side. He was tall, and his features said he had ancestors from India. He was still wearing his scrubs from the lab, too, and managed to look as comfortable in them as Louisa was in her cut-offs. He held out a hand to Jeremy. “Hello. Jeremy Cramer.”
The Brit titled his head. “Jeremy Beckett.”
The doctor laughed. “I’ll just go by Dr. Cramer, then. You’re the younger Kessler’s teacher, right? I consulted with Agent Kessler on a case a while back.”
“His specialty is infectious diseases,” Louisa informed the teacher. “You should just hear about the strides his team’s making in studying the—”
“Goodness!” LaTisha huffed over to them with a dramatic hand to her chest. “These little bitty cracker things are barely enough to fill a woman.”
Louisa grinned. The woman was a character, that’s for sure, and she couldn’t seem to keep her hose from sagging down.
“I went into the kitchen and poked around. I could whip up a proper Southern meal in no time. You just ask my Hardy, I can cook to beat the band. Raised seven kids in my kitchen, after all.”
Dr. Cramer smiled and opened his mouth to reply.
He didn’t get the chance. The world seemed to explode into chaos around them, the sound of shattering glass followed directly by the distant boom of a gun, nearly covered by the half-dozen screams of the people in the room. Louisa was pushed none too gently to the ground. She didn’t need any convincing to stay there.
“Everybody stay down!” It was Steven’s voice that barked out the command. She looked up enough to see him belly-crawling over to the window, even as he fished a cell phone out of his pocket. Seconds later, he was speaking into it. “Clint, get an Evidence Response Team to my house pronto. The ‘impromptu party’ proved more than our suspect could resist. Lost a window though, and the wood splitter buzzed my head before lodging in my bookcase somewhere. We should have all the info needed before the night’s over.”
“What in the world?” LaTisha’s voice quavered.
The FBI agent scanned the room. “Everybody okay?”
A chorus of weak assurances sounded.
“No one’s hurt,” he said into the phone again. “See you in a few.” He flipped shut his phone and stood up against the wall beside the shattered window. “Let’s move into the kitchen, low and slow. The shooter’s most likely long gone, but we need to get out of this room so the ERT can do its job.”
Louisa pushed herself onto her knees and crawled along with the others through the door to the kitchen. She would have felt ridiculous had that gunshot not still been echoing through her mind. She stood up once she was in the safe, soft glow of the kitchen light. The exterior door was shrouded by heavy blinds, as was the window.
Steven was the last one in, and the group’s low murmuring came to an abrupt halt at the glare he leveled on each of them in turn. “All right. Which one of you tipped the shooter?”
A cold knot formed in Louisa’s belly. “One of us?”
The agent’s jaw ticked. “As far as everyone knew, I was heading to Georgia for a weekend away. I arrived via taxi. My car is still at Headquarters. A current suspect’s threats have ratcheted up and this party was a way to smoke him out. But one of you had to tip him off to the time and my whereabouts. I want to know who.”
Sierra folded her arms over her chest. “Ask Jabba the Hut, here. He has no problem killing innocent animals, he probably doesn’t much care about FBI agents, either.”
Ham’s countenance reflected injury. He raised a meaty hand to his chest. “Me? I strive for the redemption of humankind. What about you, young lady? You’re the one who prefers beasts to her own species. Maybe you called one of your activist friends while you were in the bathroom. I was standing beside Kessler—you could have been gunning for me, since I offend you so much.”
“Now y’all stop squabbling. You sound like a bunch of kids.” LaTisha tugged on her pantyhose and scowled. “Let’s get to the bottom of this. Who among us actually knew where we were going? I personally just came along with Jeremy, and I think young Louisa here rode with Dr. Cramer. Sierra, you came on your own, and so did Ham. Jeremy and the doctor knew their way. So a few of us, at least, couldn’t have tipped anyone off, since frankly I couldn’t tell you even now where we are.”
Louisa nodded. “Besides, I haven’t been alone since we were invited to come.” She tried a small smile. “For that matter, I don’t even have a cell phone.”
The others blinked at her, shook their collective heads, and then turned back to one another. Steven narrowed his eyes at Jeremy. “You’re arm’s bleeding.”
The teacher looked down at his own forearm in surprise. “Must have been a piece of glass.”
Dr. Cramer let out a gusty sigh and pulled a pair of rubber gloves from the pocket of his scrubs. “Agent Kessler, get me a first aid kit. Everyone else stay back. The last thing we need is disease spreading.”
He started mumbling something about AIDS and a few other scary-sounding terms Louisa had never heard before as he reached with protected fingers for Jeremy’s arm.
The teacher frowned at him. “I don’t have any terrible diseases, doc. I may date a lot, but—”
“Many people have no idea when they’re infected. Better safe than sorry. Agent? A kit?”
Steven handed over a white box with a large red cross on it. His expression didn’t soften. “While Mr. Beckett here gets cleaned up, the rest of you better be prepared to come clean, too. Someone tipped off that gunman. And no one’s leaving until I know who it was.”

***********

LaTisha from MURDER ON THE OL’ BUNIONS
By S. Dionne Moore

The kitchen felt powerful hot all the sudden. Large room though it was, all of us, I dare say, felt the bite of Mr. Muscleman’s command. It didn’t take me long to warm to the occasion. We’re not talking hot flashes, either. I’m long past that.
Well, if he wanted to play detective, then we’d do it my way. And I decided then and there to begin my inquisition with Mr. Muscleman Bossy Guy himself. Afterall, no one liked a bossy person. And no one likes being bossed less than a boss. Takes one to know one, right?
I lasered in on Mr. Muscular. “You’re powerful quick to eyeball us as suspects in this CRIME. Maybe you have something against someone here.”
He crossed his arms, and I thought he’d go toe to toe with me, but his slow smile oozed charm. Too cute for his own good. But I’m immune. Hardy’s my little rooster. Sick though he might be. Right now his cocka-doodle-do is more like the croak of a toad, but I love him.
Mr. Muscles’s smile slid away. He opened the double doors a bit and peeked through. I tapped my toe, letting him know I wouldn’t be put off forever. He eased the door closed again and pursed his lips. “I assure you, Mrs. Barnhart, that is not the case.”
Come to think of it, he was one of the only people I remembered seeing the entire time. Still . . . why did he invite us all over? Complete strangers? It didn’t make a bit of sense.
I eyeballed the rest of the motley crowd, my mind replaying the movements of those present since I’d arrived at this party. Jeremy Beckett seemed unlikely to flick a flea, and the doctor, well, I didn’t know his name, but he hadn’t been out of my sight at all, save for the time I went to the kitchen. The Asian girl kept eyeballing a large man in a bright orange shirt . . .
Orange shirt? Something snagged in my mind, and I looked closer at the fellow. Large. Blond hair. Eyes the color of seaweed.
Hm.
In the middle of my poking around the kitchen earlier, when I’d harbored hope of finding more than a cracker, I clearly remembered a flash of orange as someone exited from the kitchen and into the dining room. I hadn’t given it much thought then, but now that I think on it, it was funny that I had seen someone exiting the kitchen but not in the kitchen.
I waved a hand at the double doors I thought I’d seen him pass through. “Didn’t I see you slipping through those doors into the dining room earlier?”
He smoothed his shirt. “I, too, was looking for a bit more substantial snack.” He stabbed a look at the little Asian girl and pointed to the rack of very sharp, gleaming utensils. “I must say our host has quite an impressive collection of knives, wouldn’t you agree, Sierra?”
“You’re sick,” she muttered and turned her back.
But I wasn’t to be sidetracked. He must have known I wasn’t done with him because he raised an eyebrow at me. Kind of a silent challenge. Well, honey, after raising seven kids, I was more than up to anything he dished. “I believe you had your back to me, Mrs. Barnhart. I’m sure you will agree, this is a very large kitchen.”
“And you’re a very big man. I would have at least seen you, if not heard you.”
There, let him soak that in brine for a while.
I turned to Sierra. “Where’d you get off to before the blast?”
She shrugged. “I have nothing to hide. I left to find the bathroom, but ended up in the library.” Her eyes shifted to the doctor. “You remember, Doctor, you helped me find it.”
Doc patted Mr. Beckett’s arm and straightened. “Indeed I did, young lady. What of it?”
“Weren’t you fumbling with something?” her eyes narrowed. “Like maybe your cell phone?”
The doctor busied himself with pulling at the fingers of his gloves. “I received a page.”
I filed away that tidbit. Something else drifted on the fringes of my brain. It came to me as my eyes scanned along the hall off the kitchen.
The door to the bedroom. It had been closed earlier, and now it stood open, though Muscles hadn’t left the party.
I locked onto Mr. Orange again. His lips drew down into a frown as he returned my stare. That’s when it clicked. “You had come from the bedroom, hadn’t you? And you didn’t want me seeing you. Now I wonder, why would that be?”

************

Steven from RANSOMED DREAMS
By Amy Wallace

Rather than glaring himself into having six more enemies, Steven slipped into the living room and surveyed the scene. Good thing James and Gracie were safely tucked away at his parent’s home for the weekend. After the ERT did their work, the first order of business would be finding a crime scene cleaner and getting a new window installed.
Then he’d call Gracie so she wouldn’t stay up all night wondering. Maybe they could salvage a few hours of his “vacation” weekend, even if they did have to stay in VIRGINIA to do it.
After checking his watch, he slipped on a latex glove and ran a hand over his splintered bookshelf. It’d take him and Clint a good weekend of work making another section for the piece of furniture that would hopefully house all of Gracie’s books in the near future.
Not wanting to disturb any clue the ERT would need to sink a conviction, he moved to the phone. Surely no one was stupid enough to use his phone to make the call. But then again, if criminals were playing with a full stack they’d have cold case files enough to make a twenty-year veteran cry.
He hit redial and listened to the number a computer voice rattled back to him. Not a call he’d placed. Punching it into his cell, he waited for six long and boring rings.
“We’re sorry, but the cellular customer you’re trying to reach is unavailable. If you’d like to leave a message—”
He didn’t, so he slapped the phone shut and took to pacing.
It was a local cell number and not one they had on file for their kidnapping suspect. Once the ERT Agent in Charge cleared him, Steven would run the number by Michael and let the computer genus do his stuff to track it down.
But that wasn’t a solid enough lead for cuffing one of his “guests” and giving them a short trip to a long night in jail.
One more glance at his watch. The ERT should arrive shortly. Until then, he had an interrogation times six to keep him busy.

************

Dr. Cramer from INFORMED CONSENT
By Sandra Glahn

Dr. Cramer wanted to avoid alarming Jeremy, but the red circle of blood on the teacher’s white shirt continued to expand. The doctor pulled up Jeremy’s sleeve for a look.
“Are you on any medications?” he asked.
Jeremy shook his head. “Just an occasional aspirin and some over-the-counter allergy stuff.”
“When’s the last time you had aspirin?” Dr. Cramer asked.
“Yesterday, actually.”
The doctor breathed easier. Perhaps some of the blood-thinning properties were still in effect, which would account for the heavy bleeding, even though the injury appeared to be only on the skin's surface. He pressed against the wound to slow the flow. “Take off your belt," he said.
Jeremy’s eyebrows shot up. “Why?” His look was defiant, but he didn’t wait for an answer to reach for the buckle.
“I need a tourniquet.”
“Surely it’s not all that bad, doc,” Jeremy insisted.
“Maybe not. But just in case.”
Jeremy dutifully undid his belt and handed it to the physician. Dr. Cramer wrapped it around the injured arm above the wound and gave it a yank. Then he looked over at Stephen. “Got any alcohol?”
Stephen nodded and trotted off toward the bathroom.
“Am I gonna live, doc?” Jeremy asked, seeming to laugh it off, though the quiver in his voice betrayed him.
“We’re all terminal cases,” Dr. Cramer said. “But I don’t think your time’s up yet. Does it hurt?”
“Not much, but it’s starting to throb now that you’re pressing on it.” Jeremy’s tone was accusatory.
Dr. Cramer shrugged it off. He looked around at the guests, and his eyes landed on Louisa. “Get me some gauze and tape out of there, will you?” He pointed to the first-aid kit and Louisa jumped into action. Stephen returned with the alcohol about the time Louisa handed Dr. Cramer what he’d asked for. Less than minute later, the wound was dressed.
Dr. Cramer handed back the supplies to their deliverers and felt around in the pockets of his scrubs.
“What do you need?” Stephen asked.
“My phone. Must’ve left it in the car.”
Stephen pointed toward the hall. “Use the one in the bedroom.”
“Thanks.” Dr. Cramer looked over at Jeremy. “I’ll drive you to the ER or we can call an ambulance, if you prefer. It would be better if you didn’t drive yourself. Let me just tell the hospital we’re on our way.”
“ER? It’s not that bad, is it?”
“Your CASE involves a gunshot wound. Trust me—for both our sakes we need to take you in.”
“Okay. Whatever.” Jeremy shrugged.
Dr. Cramer proceeded down the hall and found Stephen’s immaculately clean bedroom. The d├ęcor was art deco in primary colors and symmetrical lines that brought Mondrian to mind. Next to the bed on a black lacquer table sat a red telephone.
As he made his way across the room, Dr. Cramer noticed a slip of paper on the hardwood floor. It was lying in a pool of water about the size an ice cube might leave. He stooped to pick up the paper and recognized it as a business card for Rev. Archer Romlin. It was just like the one each guest had received earlier in the evening except that this one was torn in half, and on the back someone had scribbled what was now the residue of a phone number with the word "cell."
Dr. Cramer picked up the phone and scrolled back through “calls made.” The area code and prefix on the card matched the most recent one, but the last four letters on the card were smeared beyond recognition so there was not way of knowing for sure if the numbers matched.

************

Sierra from HAZARDOUS DUTY
By Christy Barritt

“Rev. Romlin? The cult leader?” Sierra’s fiery gaze turned to Ham, who’d just grabbed a bacon-wrapped scallop from the kitchen counter. “This pig was just talking about the Reverend. It looks like we have our killer.”
Ham glowered down at her and, with a mouthful of food, exclaimed, “Listen here, girlie, you’re a suspect too. Don’t try to put the attention on me just to take it off yourself.”
“I don’t believe in murder, unlike the rest of you people who kill innocent animals simply to indulge your own desires. I’ve got a heart!” She jabbed her finger into her chest to emphasize her words. Her gaze swung around the room, looking at each of the meat eaters with obvious contempt. Everyone stopped eating their meaty treats and wiped their mouths.
Sierra’s scowl landed on Ham again. She stepped closer and jabbed his chest this time. She was a small thing, but she had spirit. “I’ve heard all about your Reverend Romlin. He always talks about RANSOMING people from their sins in that television show of his. And how do you get delivered from your sins? By sending him money. He’s a brainwasher. Did he brainwash you into killing someone, Pig Boy?”
Ham stepped forward, towering over petite Sierra. “I will not tolerate your accusations. For all we know, that bullet could have been aimed at me.”
**********

Hamilton Gordon from RELUCTANT RUNAWAY
By Jill Elizabeth Nelson

“I don’t like being shot at.” Ham crossed his arms, and sweat trickled into the folds of flesh down his side. “But God hates false accusers.”
That FBI agent, Kessler, poked a finger at him. “No one’s accusing you, Mr. Gordon, but if you’d been the target, it would have been hard to miss.”
Ham’s cheeks flamed. “You’re no pipsqueak yourself. How do you know the shot wasn’t intended as a warning? A scare tactic. I have enemies—”
“Scare tactic!” The mature woman in bright purple hitched up her hose. “Pretty effective then, I’d say. But who’d want to shoot a meat-packing tycoon?”
A soft shriek came from Sierra. “You not only sacrifice animals for sick religious rituals, but you slaughter them for a living? That’s it. This guy’s guilty. He has no respect for life.”
“Young lady,” Ham lifted himself to his full height, “I never said we of The Inner Witness sacrifice lambs. I said we partake of lamb and wine in our sacrament of FORGIVENESS and healing. Maybe you’re a confirmed vegetarian, but I’ll wager everyone else in this room enjoys a good steak, including our host who seems to think someone’s out to kill him.”
Kessler smiled grimly. “With the help of an accomplice in this room.”
“Which brings us back to you, Ham.” LaTisha piped up. “You were alone for part of the evening. Long enough to place that mystery call from Steven’s home phone. Next to the phone, Dr. Cramer found a business card for Reverend Archer Romlin with a smudged phone number written on the back.” She ticked the points off on her fingers. “And you are one of Romlin’s followers. Pretty interesting two plus two here.”
Cramer and Jeremy muttered agreement. Louisa stared, wide-eyed. Sierra shuddered and pressed her lips together.
Ham lifted his chin. “Circumstantial evidence. I have been accused of worse by professionals, not amateur sleuths, and acquitted.” The FBI agent snorted, but didn’t say anything as Ham went on. “What about the good doctor? He wandered off by himself for a while, and there’s no reason he couldn’t have written that number on the back of Rev. Romlin’s business card. I handed one out to everyone when we arrived. And Ms. Humane Society?” He jerked a nod at Sierra. “She left the room, too, also in possession of one of my dear pastor’s business cards. What do any of you have to say about that?”
“Motive.” Kessler’s voice sliced the air. “I’m still trying to figure out your motive, Gordon. But don’t worry, I will, and then we’ll have an arrest, a trial, and a conviction.”
Ham locked glares with the FBI agent. Would law enforcement ever tire of persecuting him? Probably not as long as he placed loyalty to his faith above every other consideration.

***********

Jeremy from Too Good to be True
By Trish Perry

Right. Here I’ve landed in the soup again, haven’t I? My friends are constantly encouraging me to involve myself in events outside my typical social scenes. “Stay away from the nightclubs and bars, Jeremy!” they say. “There are so many other ways to meet interesting people.” They mean women, of course. They know my romantic circumstances haven’t panned out quite as favorably as I would have liked.

So I take up this bloke Kessler on his invitation to a small do at his home, complete with doctors, animal-rights activists, tycoons, and that utterly striking young mum. I had hoped to chat her up, but that doesn’t look likely now. This could be a blasted long night, and not for pleasant reasons.

They turned out to be an interesting lot, I’ll give them that! I was quite chuffed about getting to know Kessler a bit more. I’ve never met an FBI agent before. What cracking good stories he must have, eh? From the looks of it, though, this shooting was no ACCIDENT. Kessler appears suspicious of all of us. Might one of these guests have sinister reasons for attending?

Kessler thinks someone made a phone call to touch off the shooting. I can’t say I saw anyone on the phone; not even a cell phone. I did see that paranoid doctor chap in the kitchen, checking his pager. But as far as I could see, he stayed clear of the phone. And I must admit I noticed that little animal-rights bird leave the room—she’s rather smashing with that nose ring, isn’t she? She seems sharp, as well. I think she just left to use the facilities, though.

Overall, I’d say LaTisha’s husband, Hardy, had the right idea tonight. He stayed home!

**********

Have you figured out WHOdunit? Then send the name and the culprit and the six KEYWORDS to review@christianreviewofbooks.com with the subject line WHO?

Entries will be received until 3 p.m. EST on Monday, August 27.

Have fun!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Void by Mark Mynheir

I recently posted to one of my writers groups that this is one of the best books I've read in 2007. I was emotionally engaged by the characters from page one. Some I loved, some I loathed, a few I pitied. The eerily possible premise resonated with me. The supernatural elements tip this book over the edge from suspense into the thriller category. The ever-competent Mynheir will take you on a hair-raising, and at the same time, thought-provoking ride. Highly recommended!


ABOUT THE BOOK:


The Truth Chasers Book Three

Someone’s trying to play God…and he’s turning Palm Bay into hell.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Robbie Sanchez devotes her life to crime prevention, and it shows: She has no personal life and doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. After all, someone has to be around to clean up the mess crime leaves behind.

So when Officer Brad Worthington is brutally murdered, Agent Sanchez is called to the scene along with Brad’s best friend, Detective Eric Casey. The two turn to Lifetex, the genetics lab near the scene, hoping their elaborate security system might have captured the crime outside.

But what’s going on inside the lab is far worse: a renegade scientist is cloning humans! As Robbie and Eric pursue clues–and a growing attraction–they are caught in a deadly battle as the clones begin to act on their own volition…but this battle threatens to claim more than human life; the clones are vying for human souls.

The Void is nothing short of a page-turner. Mynheir is truly hitting his stride as one of our industry's most notable Christian novelists. This latest book has it all: suspense, humor, intrigue, realistic police action, and one thought-provoking story line. Creston Mapes, Author of Nobody

Buy this book! http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1590524004

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mark Mynheir is a cop writer. He has authored Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One) and From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two). During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Mark and his wife, Lori, live with their three children in central Florida.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tomorrow is the Deadline!

I wouldn’t miss it! Well, at least not without downright drastic reason. I love the annual American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. Not only do I come away enriched as a writer, I’m blessed and refreshed in my faith in this atmosphere of novelists whose craft is dedicated to advancing the Kingdom of God. The praise sessions! The classes! The social times! The food! Wow! And all in first class accommodations for a cut rate!!

If any of this interests you, check it out at http://www.acfw.com. Click on the Annual Conference button for oodles of info and an opportunity to register for the premier Christian fiction writers’ conference in the nation. The dates are September 20 – 23. This is the second year it’s been held at the lovely Marriott Quorum Hotel in Dallas, TX. TOMORROW is the deadline to register at the best rate.

This year’s keynote speaker is James Scott Bell. If you don’t have his book, Plot and Structure, it’s a MUST for your write-craft bookshelf. Jim is a multi-published, best-selling fiction author. I took his plotting class at last year’s Colorado Writers Conference, and the man has an awesome teaching gift. I’m on the edge of my seat to glean more from him at ACFW.

Hope to see you there!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quaint Q&A for Writers and Readers

Amy Wallace, my friend and a fellow suspense author featuring FBI characters, tagged me with a unique Q&A especially for writers and readers.

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to?

One day I hope to finish my medieval fantasy series. My hero rocks, and his love interest will steal your hearts! The first book in the series, Kingmaker, is the book of my heart, but fantasy is a tough sell. However, the Lord will light the way at the appropriate time.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?

I’m well into Robert Liparulo’s Comes a Horseman. Excellent read! Of course, I love reading books by other authors who feature FBI characters. I always learn something I didn’t know about the Bureau from my own research, and I always find validation for my portrayals, too.

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)?

A PC that is now a dinosaur and extinct, but I sure gave it a workout!

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month?

Difficult question. Some months I read 5 – 6. Other months I have no time to read any. Depends on where I’m at on deadline or with family and church commitments. During the three years I served as Senior Inspirational Reviewer for Romantic Times magazine, I read 12 – 15 books per month.

5. What's your favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned?

I adore my Dell Inspiron laptop. It goes with me any time I travel, and I use it every day. It’s got loads of memory, which is so handy when you’re dealing with full length manuscripts.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read?

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but I probably enjoy either the medieval or Regency periods the most.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?

The Hobbit. That book entranced me from page one. I think my desire to be a writer was born with reading that book over and over again. Could I ever draw a reader into a fictional world so completely? Naturally, I had to move on into the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also enjoyed Lloyd Alexander’s series that starts with The Book of Three. Loads of great imagery, wonderful characters, and deep themes. Madeline L’Engles’ A Wrinkle in Time was also a favorite, along with any of the YA books by C. S. Lewis. Oh, and I always enjoyed a good Encyclopedia Brown or Nancy Drew story. Evidently, my favorite genres are fantasy and mystery/suspense.

This Q&A is interactive for writers and readers. Go ahead and respond with your unique answers to one or more of these questions. Have a delightful day!